You don’t need to walk laps in a retirement home to know that getting older sucks, you feel it every morning when you wake up.
Less spring in your first step, more soreness in areas that you’ve never felt pain, and, most crucially, a valley of apathy where there previously was a mountain of enthusiasm.
The everyday freshness of high school and college has faded and washed away with the mundane routine of life that we like to call reality.
Yes, it’s tragic losing all that youthful optimism — the death of hope is never pleasant, but what comes to replace it over time is something that, although lacking in spiritual value, is more vital to preserving your individuality.
It’s called perspective or, as adults like to phrase it, learning from experience.
Most of the time, the term is attributed as a “gain,” although in the moment of achievement you certainly wouldn’t view it as such. (Remember waking up in the drunk tank after celebrating your friends 21st birthday?)
Nonetheless, from our collective aging we gain opinions and outlooks that not only dictate our general direction in life, but that also could change the world someday.
I know, it sounds sappy. But, if you’re being honest with yourself, then you can admit that progress is impossible without men and women who have a strong set of beliefs, ideas and attitudes.
Therefore, as we’ve come to know through our seemingly endless bouts of teen spirit, adults are the ones best equipped to change the world.
Enough with the bombastic and condescending prelude though, here are some of the other benefits of getting older:
More females…and younger ones, too
I’ll let the almighty and eternal Wooderson, Matthew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused, take this one:
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”
I wish I didn’t have to write anything more because this summarizes almost everything positive about getting old in two simple sentences. But, in case you were born under a rock, I’ll explain in laymen terms: the older you get, the more you can look at. And, the more you can chase after.
If you’re say 25, then you can look anywhere from 18 and up and chose someone that fits your needs and desires in that moment. Even better, new chicks — always younger than the last crop — keep popping up all over the place, every single year, as if they were coming from cyborg-producing factory overseas.
It’s hard to keep up with so many options that you never had when you were a pubescent and frightened teenage boy; that’s exactly why a lot of young and middle aged men elect to settle down — they’re overwhelmed by all that choice.
Eventually, if you’re premature in your decision-making and never get the chance to properly soil your oats, then it will catch up with you and you’ll be back out there playing the market in your early 40s. That’s look way too far ahead though.
Staying in the present: I recommend you enjoy this newfound, eternally expanding demographic of females and have the time of your life.
The 17-year-old version of yourself is suddenly jealous of you.
Similar to that overused Wooderson quote, this is pretty self-explanatory, but one should never assume.
If you’ve graduated college this year and are still searching for a dark place to crawl into to avoid reality, then allow me to show you the light: after working tirelessly for a year in a real world job that’s almost certain to suck, your bosses will insist that you get the hell out of the office for a week or two. In fact, they’re so adamant that they’ll pay you for it.
Nothing says respect like getting money for doing nothing — remember that. Speaking of…
Once you find that job, your parents will finally give you this even if you don’t necessarily want it. Also, their parents, your grandparents, will look at you with the similar admiration, and not the hollow kind that came on the inside of a Hallmark card when you graduated high school, which really isn’t that significant of an accomplishment if you think about it.
I digress though. Most important about this newly discovered reverence is that you’ll find that some of your apparently taboo behavior from the golden years (ages 17 to 22) are actually totally acceptable now that you wear a grown man’s face and earn a real person’s salary.
Now, I’m not saying to bring your bong to work, but you can certainly stash it in your closet and nobody would look down on your for it. After all, you have a job and that makes you immune to all the bullshit you once received for being a lackadaisical teen with limited-to-no work ethic.
No, respect and self-respect can’t be lumped into the same category — they’re too different things entirely. One you try to earn from others throughout your existence; the other can’t be earned at all.
As cheesy as it sounds, self-esteem is an inward battle you must fight alone. Eventually, when you’re old enough, you learn to come to terms with all the animosity and stop taking swings at yourself and the rest of the world.
In summary, the road of life has plenty of speed bumps when your young, but all that negativity and angst eventually subsides to forms into what hippies refer to as inner peace.
It’s a pretty nice feeling when you familiarize yourself with it.
I kind of touched upon this with the whole “adults have all power” bit above, but what’s important to add is that the older you get, you’re in control of every aspect of your life from dieting to exercising to paying your bills to walking your dog. Some cringe at all that responsibility, while others become men and rise to the occasion.
I’m not totally at this point in my life yet — no dog, only three bills to pay — so I can’t say trust me on this one, but I can imagine that it’s a whole lot better to rise than it is to sink.
Similar to the aforementioned peace, freedom from parental direction can feel, well, liberating. Hemorrhaging money, on the other hand, is not.
The lesson: you can’t have it all.
One of my personal favorite things about getting older — although, again, I’m not entirely there yet — is finding stuff you like to do and just doing it, like rock climbing or building model airplanes.
The rules of conformity — wake up, drink — should have flown out the window a long time ago. And, in case they haven’t, there’s always time to have a bonfire and torch that motherfucker — though I wouldn’t recommend doing it on the top of your apartment complexes roof if you live in a metro area.
To obtain all the stuff listed above — perspective, peace, freedom, self-acceptance, then you’re going to need to find activities that help you become your own person. You can’t achieve this by following a trail that somebody has left for you.
This is the not-so-distant cousin of control, but it certainly deserves its own category because it encompasses a lot more — who you hang out with, what you look like, where you go in your free time and where you live, when you wake up and why you decide not to make your bed every morning.
And, the most beautiful part of it is that nobody will question you ever again. Those 5Ws are yours to craft exactly how you see fit and nobody can tell you otherwise.
Saving the best — and by far the most self-explanatory — for last.
For all the shit talking I did above about marriage, I absolutely love the concept of grouping all your high school and college buddies together six to eight times over the next decade and having an all-out celebration that makes college look like a walk in the park.
Yes, I realize this may sound a bit feminine, but I don’t give a shit — weddings are awesome and can really only be topped by live sporting events.